EJ Manuel: "We're starting to get some confidence"


Quarterback EJ Manuel**
Do you think there were any parallels to the line of scrimmage? Things warmed up as you went alone there, but you were hot by the time halftime hit.

"Can't really say there was parallels. I just got more of a feel for the game, the flow of the game, things like that. The O-line did a great job, C.J. (Spiller) did an awesome job, especially early on those guys did a great job helping me get more into the game."

Timing-wise, there were a couple of throws where you were a little off, but it all seemed to fall into place for you.

"It's all about relaxing. Obviously it was my first time out there. I wanted to do great, but I thought as a team we played well. The main thing is just relax and take your time."

How did you feel with the protection calls, pre-snap chats, things like that?

"Yeah, I felt great. Everything we looked at going into this game, a lot of those looks were there and it made it a lot easier to call out those Mikes and call out the protections."

If you had to give yourself a grade on your performance today, what would it be and why?

"I would say a B. I think, being that it was my first time out there and things like that. My main thing was, I wanted to operate the offense like Coach Hackett has taught us and get all of the other guys in position. Like I said, the veterans have done a great job helping me and bringing me along and things like that. The main thing is to continue to go out there and execute."

Coach Marrone mentioned that he was surprised that you didn't go down field, not you personally, but in retrospect what are your thoughts on that?

"I don't really have any thoughts on it. I thought Coach Hackett did a great job game planning for the game and I thought we executed well."

What did Coach Hackett say to you after you made the decision to take the field goal?

"He said it was a great decision. Just rolling out, don't try to make a play, doing too much, try to force the ball in there and then you get a deflection or you get an interception, something like that. We already had points in the red zone, just throw the ball away and try to get three."

You went to Robert Woods three times. Talk about your chemistry with him.

"All of those receivers did a great job, especially Wood, Woody being a young guy and then Marquise (Goodwin) had a great kick return for us. That really united the whole team and got a spark going for our team. We were able to go out there and put some more points on the board."

In the second half, Jeff Tuel comes out and orchestrates some touchdown drives. The contributions were pretty extensive.

"Yeah, we're very proud. We really came together. We're all really good friends. I think, obviously this is the first preseason game, we've got a long way to go, but I think we're starting off getting ourselves some confidence."

What's your reaction when you start that two-minute drill?  What was your thinking?

"I was excited about it. That's really where quarterbacks are measured. As far as my maturing process in this offense and being a pro, I think I showed that I can go out there and get the ball down the field and the line, like I said, did a great job the whole time. Those guys really took care of me and I thank them for it. I was glad we were able to go out there and get six points before the end of the half."

What else did teammates say to you about that drive?

"They were very happy for me. A lot of the guys congratulated me, getting that first touchdown and then also having a successful two-minute drive. It's always good to have guys that you grew up watching on TV and things like that, now my teammates, give you some props. I just want to continue to get better and build upon that."

On the touchdown pass, was Dorin Dickerson your primary read there? Just walk us through the play.

"Yeah, I just read the defense, two out safety's, Dorin ran the middle read he was wide open and just threw him the ball."

Was that Cover 2 they were in?


Of those nine completions, how many times do you think you went to your first option?

"A lot of them I went deep into it, just checking it down to the back. When you watch, a lot of two-minute drills, you'll see quarterbacks just checking it down to a back or checking it down to a guy who's running shallow or something like that because the defense knows you're trying to get down to score points or they're going to back up and get into a drop zone. I think that's another part why Coach Hackett said I did a good job, not trying to force anything, just taking what they gave me."

Describe Coach Hackett's enthusiasm.

"Extremely exciting, extremely high-energy guy. He's always like that. It's never like he's going to have, say we are not practicing as well as we want to, obviously he's going to be upset, but he's going to have high energy. Being the quarterback for that kind of coach, you love that. It gives you a lot of confidence going into a game and allows you to be yourself and not something that you're not."

Did you get a chance to take to Andrew Luck after the game?


Any words exchanged?

"It's always good to see guys that you've known since high school and seeing his success the past couple years, even in college, just seeing him do great like that. It was also great to see him again. He said, 'I'm sure we'll link up in offseason.'"

Any ideas now that this game is behind you?

"I think it is a milepost. It was my first time out there against the real deal. I thought we did a good job as a team, going out there, still getting the win, even though it's preseason, we still want to go out there and give a good product, to win games. Moving forward it's going to give us a lot of confidence. We've got another game on Friday. We've got to get ready for that."

What did Andrew Luck say to you? "He said I looked comfortable. He said I looked good. Obviously I said the same to him. He came out there and did what he does, but getting the props from him was really nice."

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